Gift cards were a popular gift this past holiday season. However, if you have an unused gift card lying around you may want to use this card now to avoid losing all or some of its value later. Here is why these cards may lose value:
- Inactivity fees that use up the balance
- Card balances that are stolen before the recipient can use the card, and
- Businesses that go out of business before the card can be used.
The sooner you use the card, the better. If the business or card issuer allows you to register the card and change the pin, this can also help if the card is lost or stolen.
If you notice that the balance on the card has decreased, contact the business or card issuer about this issue.
If inactivity fees have been assessed, some businesses will credit back all or some of these fees.
If you learn that the balance has been stolen, some card issuers are able to track fraudulent transactions and will reinstate the balance.
If the business closes its local doors before you can use the card, you might be able to use it at other locations or online.
If they cease operations, try contacting a corporate office to ask for a refund.
If you are unable to get a refund, contact state or federal consumer agencies who may be able to provide more information on how to file a claim or take action.